Yahweh alone was righteous (Zeph 3:5-3:5)

“Yahweh within her

Is righteous.

He does no wrong.

Every morning,

He renders

His judgment,

Each dawn

Without fail.

But the unjust ones

Know no shame.”

Yahweh alone in the city of Jerusalem was righteous.  He did not do anything wrong.  Every morning, at dawn without fail, He rendered his judgment.  However, the unjust ones did not know any shame, even when they were called out.

The glory and judgment of Yahweh (Ezek 39:21-39:21)

“I will display

My glory

Among the nations.

All the nations

Shall see

My judgment

That I have executed.

They shall see

My hand

That I have laid

On them.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, seemed very happy. He was going to show his glory to all the countries of the world. Everyone would see his judgment in action. They would realize his power when his hand would be put on them.

Yahweh’s counter attack against Gog (Ezek 38:21-38:23)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘I will summon

The sword

Against Gog.

In all my mountains,

The swords of all

Will be

Against their comrades.

I will enter my judgment

On him

With pestilence,

With bloodshed.

I will pour down

Torrential rains,

Hailstones,

Fire,

Sulfur,

Upon him,

With his troops,

With the many people

That are with him.

Thus,

I will show

My greatness,

My holiness.

I will make myself known

In the eyes

Of many nations.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that he was going to summon swords against Gog in the mountains, as fellow soldiers would be against each other with their swords. Yahweh was going to render his judgment, so that there would be pestilence and bloodshed. He was going to hit them with all kinds of natural disasters. Yahweh was going to pour down on Gog, his troops, and anyone with him, torrential rains, hailstones, fire, and sulfur or the famous brimstones. Thus, he would show his greatness and holiness. When all the various nations and countries would see this, then they would know that Yahweh was their God.

The judgment of the righteous and the wicked (Ezek 33:18-33:20)

“When the righteous ones

Turn

From their righteousness,

When they commit

Iniquity,

They shall die for it.

When the wicked ones

Turn

From their wickedness,

When they do

What is lawful,

What is right,

They shall live by it.

Yet you say.

‘The way of Yahweh

Is not just.’

O house of Israel!

I will judge

All of you

According to your ways.”

Yahweh said that he was going to make his judgment based on what they do. If the righteous one turned away from his righteousness by committing iniquity, he was going to die for it. On the other hand, if a wicked person turned from his wickedness by doing what was lawful and right, he would live. However, they complained by saying that Yahweh was not just. Yahweh reiterated that he was going to judge all of them according to their own ways and deeds. Actions speak louder than words.

The destruction of the various Egyptian city idols (Ezek 30:13-30:16)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘I will destroy

The idols.

I will put an end

To the images

In Memphis.

There shall no longer

Be a prince

In the land of Egypt.

Thus I will put fear

Into the land of Egypt.

I will make Pathros

A desolation.

I will set fire

To Zoan.

I will execute

Acts of judgment

On Thebes.

I will pour my wrath

Upon Pelusium,

The stronghold of Egypt.

I will cut off

The hordes of Thebes.

I will set fire

To Egypt.

Pelusium shall be

In great agony.

Thebes shall be

Breached.

Memphis will face

Adversaries by day.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that he was going to destroy the idols and images of the city of Memphis, the capital of lower Egypt. They would face daily adversaries. There would be no longer a prince in Egypt. Yahweh was going to put fear into the people of Egypt. He was going to decimate Pathros and set a fire in Zoan, that later became known as Tanis, in the northeast Delta area. He was going to execute his judgment on Thebes, current day Karnak, by getting rid of the multitude of people there, when the walls would be broken down. He was going to pour out his wrath on the stronghold of Pelusium that was east of Zoan, so that it would be in great agony.

 

The coming punishment for the king and his family (Jer 36:30-36:31)

“Therefore thus says Yahweh                           

Concerning King Jehoiakim

Of Judah.

‘He shall have no one

To sit upon the throne

Of David.

His dead body

Shall be cast out

To the heat

By day

As well as the frost

By night.

I will punish him,

His offspring,

As well as his servants

For their iniquity.

I will bring

On them,

On the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

On the people of Judah,

All the disasters

With which I have threatened them.

But they would not hear.’”

Yahweh delivered his judgment against King Jehoiakim and his royal family. No one in his family will ever sit on the throne of David. Actually, at his death, his son Coniah, King Jehoiachin ruled for a couple of months before King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon put his uncle King Zedekiah on the throne in 598 BCE. King Jehoiakim’s dead body would lie out in the cold night and the hot day. The king, his children, and his servants would suffer for their iniquity. On top of that, Yahweh was going to bring disasters to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This will all happen because they had not listened to Yahweh.

Chariots of fire (Isa 66:15-66:16)

“Yahweh will come in fire.

His chariots will be

Like a whirlwind.

He will pay back his anger in fury.

His rebuke will be in the flames of fire.

Yahweh will execute judgment By fire.

Yahweh will execute judgment

By his sword upon all flesh.

Those slain by Yahweh shall be many.”

The prophet portrays Yahweh coming in fire with chariots, so that we have the chariots of fire. His anger and fury will be in the flames of this fire. He will execute his judgment with fire and the sword on everyone. Yahweh will kill many people.

King Jeroboam (Sir 47:23-44:25)

“Then Jeroboam son of Nebat

Led Israel into sin.

He started Ephraim

On its sinful ways.

Their sins increased

More and more,

Until they were exiled

From their land.

They sought out

Every kind of wickedness,

Until vengeance came upon them.”

Interesting enough, Sirach talked about the king who led the Israelite northern kingdom, who was not in the Davidic line of kings. Sirach was very harsh in his judgment about the northern rebels. Their kingdom was in fact called Israel, while the southern kingdom was called Judah. Jeroboam the son of Nebat was from Ephraim, just north of Judah and Benjamin. He actually had worked for Solomon in his administration, as indicated in 1 Kings, chapters 11-14. A prophet told Jeroboam that he would be king. After a meeting with Rehoboam, Jeroboam set up a new kingdom at Shechem. His great sin was that he did not want the people to go to Jerusalem to worship. Thus he setup his own worship places. This false worship led to the downfall of the northern Kingdom of Israel (721 BCE) before that of the Kingdom of Judah (587 BCE).  The wickedness of this kingdom deserved the vengeance that came to it.

Accept the discipline (Sir 6:23-6:31)

“Listen!

My child!

Accept my judgment!

Do not reject my counsel!

Put your feet into her fetters!

Put your neck into her collar!

Bend your shoulder!

Carry her!

Do not fret under her bonds!

Come to her with all your soul!

Keep her ways with all your might!

Search out!

Seek her!

She will become known to you.

When you get hold of her,

Do not let her go.

For at last,

You will find the rest she gives.

She will be changed into joy for you.

Then her fetters will become for you a strong defense.

Her collar will be a golden ornament.

Her bonds will be a purple cord.

You will wear her like a glorious robe.

You will put her on like a splendid crown.”

Sirach wants the children to listen to him and accept his judgment. They should receive the chains of wisdom around their necks and on their feet in order to accept wisdom. They should carry her, this feminine wisdom, and let her come into their souls. They should seek and search her out. She will become known to them. They should never let her go. Their lives will be changed into joy as the chains will be a defense. They will have golden ornaments around their necks, purple cords, and a splendid crown. Just listen to what he and wisdom are telling them. This almost sounds like a masochistic love for this female wisdom.

The power of God (Ps 76:7-76:9)

“But you indeed are awesome!

Who can stand before you?

When once your anger is roused?

From the heavens

You uttered judgment.

The earth feared.

The earth was still.

God rose up to establish judgment.

He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth.”

Selah

God was awesome! No one could stand before him once his anger was aroused. From heaven he uttered his judgment. Thus the earth feared and was still. God established his judgment. He wanted to save all the oppressed of the earth. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.